Your Benefits

You have the following rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act:

1.  Medical Expenses: You are entitled to receive full medical treatment for your work-related injuries.  You may seek treatment from any two doctors of your own choosing.  The first doctor that you choose may refer you to another doctor for further care and treatment.  You can also choose a completely second doctor who can refer you to other physicians as well.  It is very important that you obtain the referral from either of your two choices of physician under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.  As long as your medical treatment is reasonable, necessary, and related to the work injury, your employer is required to pay for the medical treatment under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

2.   Lost Time: You are entitled to receive payment of weekly workers’ compensation benefits beginning the fourth day you are off from work due to your work-related injury.  It is very important to obtain written statements from your doctor(s) indicating that you are to remain off from work.  You should keep a copy of any off work slips you obtain.

3.   Amount of Benefits: You are entitled to receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage during the time you remain off from work for a work-related injury beginning on the fourth day you are off from work.  If you are off 14 days or more, your employer or the workers’ compensation carrier must pay you for the first three days you were off, which is again, based upon two-thirds of your average weekly wage.

4.   Average Weekly Wage: Your employer should be paying you at two-thirds of the amount of money you were capable of earning for the year preceding the injury at work which include overtime hours if the overtime hours are mandatory.  If you lost more than two weeks of work through no fault of your own in the year preceding your injury, your employer is required to divide your total earnings by the actual weeks and parts of weeks that you worked.  If you missed more than two weeks in the year before your injury, the average weekly wage should be calculated by diving the number of weeks and parts thereof – not 52 weeks.

5.   You have a right not to be fired or discriminated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

6.   Permanent Partial Disability: If your injury causes you some residual permanent limitations, restrictions, problems, or difficulties, you are entitled to a settlement or award for those permanent impairments.  The amount of the award or settlement you receive for permanent partial disability is based upon two things:  1) your wage rate at the time of your injury; and 2) the percentage of disability you sustained as a result of your injury.

7.   Scarring: If your work-related injury resulted in scarring that is visible from approximately 10 feet from your body under normal lighting conditions, you will be entitled to some award for permanency.  However, scar cases cannot be settled within six months following an injury.  In addition, there is no compensation for scarring between your knees and your arm pits.

8.   Repetitive trauma: Repetitive trauma injuries caused by repetitious work are compensable under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

9.   Permanent Total Disability: If your injury results in a disability which prevents you from returning to work, you would be entitled to permanent total disability, which represents two-thirds of your average weekly wage, for the remainder of your life.  In addition, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act provides that the State of Illinois shall have a Rate Adjustment Fund which will allow injured workers to receive an increase in permanent total disability to cover cost of living increases.

10.  Wage Differential: If your injury results in your inability to return to your usual and customary line of employment and you are only able to return to a job that pays you at lower wages, you are entitled to two-thirds of the difference between the amount of money that you would have been capable of earning during the full performance of your job duties and the amount of money you are making in your new job.  If the injury is permanent, these wage differential benefits are also considered to be permanent.

11.  Aggravation Of A Pre-Existing Condition: If your injury at work causes an aggravation of a pre-existing condition or if the injury increases or accelerates the pre-existing condition, the injury is compensable under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and you are entitled to benefits.

12.  Injured Worker’s Benefits Are Tax Free: The benefits received by an injured worker under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act are not taxable.

13.  Your Right To An Attorney: Any injured worker in the State of Illinois is entitled to be represented by an attorney.  Under Illinois law, the attorney cannot claim more than 20% of the total amount of disputed benefits in any case.

14.   Third Party Cases: If your injury resulted from the negligence of someone other than your employer, you can bring a third party cause of action in civil court which would be a separate case.  However, your employer or its workers’ compensation carrier is entitled to be paid back for any money it spends for your workers’ compensation benefits which were paid as the result of the negligence of a third party.